This year is different. I will complete my first marathon.

How do I know this after only two weeks of training? It is all completely mental. I am in a much better space mentally this year than last year. I have good and bad days. I have doubts but it is so much different than a year ago. A year ago I didn’t think I would ever run again. I was still struggling to accept my celiac diagnosis and figure out how to fuel my body without gluten.

I have now been gluten-free for about a year and a half. It is almost second nature to me. I still miss certain foods and the freedom to order anything but I am used to it now. I know what is safe and where I can eat. This has been a huge help in my mental running game.

I do struggle a bit with the heat and the early wake-up calls. I have been getting up at 4 AM Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and 5 AM on Saturdays. It’s tough but I actually enjoy getting my runs done and not having to worry about it after work. I might even keep this up after the marathon.


I am trying a new approach to training this year. I have written my entire training plan on a calendar but am not looking too far ahead. I did an overview and have an idea of dates I need to adjust and plan for but I am taking it a month and a week at a time. At the start of September, I looked at the schedule but I only start planning on Sunday for the coming week. I make adjustments as needed for the week. If things come up during the week, I change it accordingly.

For example, I didn’t take a full rest day this week but instead of doing 30-45 minutes of cross training on two days I did three days of 20 minutes each. It was what felt right and fit with my schedule. I also swapped my long run from Saturday to Sunday because I got home late Friday and knew running on less than 6 hours of sleep was not optimal. I could have slept in Saturday and then ran but it would have been hot and there wasn’t much cloud cover. Sunday morning before sunrise was much better.

Two weeks are done and just 18 more to go! I know I can do this. I am ready.

Do you want to see more on my journey to 26.2? If so, be sure to follow me on Instagram!


Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.